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What would you do?


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I assume this is a shared household of 3 with 1 tenant remaining i.e. Is it a shared AST? or individual AST's? Did it include bills? or tenants responsible?

Did you take a deposit from the 2 that left without notice?

You need to get the gas connected ASAP. There is no way you can rent rooms with no gas supply especially in Winter! Is there any other type of heating at the property?

The tenant which is from Libya? did they start their tenancy at same time as those 2 that left? is that person without any heating due to failure of previous tenants?

sorry, without knowing all the facts cannot comment further.

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It was a shared AST with tennants responsible for all bills.

I have a small deposit from 1 of the tennants that left.

There are no arrears.

Everything was fine until September when someone moved out owing bills quickly followed by someone else leaving 1 original tennant left. Someone came in end of September which was a result but they left 28.12.08 saying it was too messy. The 1 remaining original tennant arranged alternative accomodation because she couldn't live with the new tidy person!

The Lybian came in begining of October and as I was happy just to get the mortgage paid he has no contract and no deposit has been paid (I have had to chase every payment since which doesn't bode well). Not sure whether to get him out and start a fresh or what but it's a real mess now which is largely due to desperate circumstances (mortgage needs paying and can't exit).

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I hope you don't mind me being brutally honest.

You are walking a very thin line, you've tried to do everything on the cheap and now face the consequences of doing that. You need to get the property vacant, then spend money on getting it up to a standard fit for letting (it is clearly not), then get a letting agent to help you get proper (I mean vetted) Tenant/s in.

The guy in there is basically squatting and I'm suprised he's paying you anything. Do it now or things will get a bloody whole lot worse.

You may find that you recover the costs through increased rentability.

Cheers and good luck


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I think your first job is to work out exactly what the status of the remaining occupant is. I not sure I would agree he is a squatter. Essentially, it seems to me that there are two main possibilities:

1) the original (3 person) joint tenancy is still in existence because none of them have given a proper written notice to quit and there has been no clearly and collectively agreed surrender of the tenancy. This means that your remaining occupant - who wasnt one of the original three - is there as their licensee. He can only be asked to leave once their tenancy has ended.


2) the original (3 person) joint tenancy has ended by surrender, namely, the tenants have clearly offered to give up possession and you have accepted this by entering into possession. The latter is evidenced by the fact that you have now let part (or all?) of the property to the current occupant, albeit without a written agreement.

I cant be sure without more information, but I think that option 2 is the most likely scenario.

As for what to do next, again, we probably need more information to give proper advice, but I think I would:

a) give the current occupant the option of signing a proper agreement or leaving. The only problem with the latter is that if option (2) above is correct, he has an AST so you cant get possession until 6 months have passed. In a way though, if he resists any request from you to leave, he is by implication accepting his position as an AST.

b ) consider very seriously giving individual tenancies rather than joint ones. Does each occupant have their own room and then share other facilties? If so, grant them an AST of the room they occupy with the right to use the shared facilities. Make sure you adopt this approach with the current occupant as well.

c) consider including for the cost of services within the rent; or setting a fixed service charge for services. (You could also have a variable service charge - one which varies according to the exact amount of utilities used - but this is difficult with people coming and going and in any case, brings you within the remit of Leasehold Valuation Tribunals if ever you are challenged as to the reasonableness of the amounts you are charging; this is best avoided if possible).This way you pay the bills, but you also keep control.

d) take individual deposits from each tenant and make sure the deposits are protected.

e) if you decide against all of the above and stick with a joint tenancy, then stick to the rules of a joint tenancy ie if one moves out, the other two are still responsible for the whole rent and all the bills. In effect, it means that they all move in and move out together.

f) before doing any of the above, check your local rules on HMO registration, to make sure you wont fall foul of these.

Hope this helps and good luck


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